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County decision approaching on e-cigarette regulation

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

As early as Thursday, Erie County legislators can decide if they want to restrict the use of electronic cigarettes.

Essentially, what the law does is expand the county law which barred indoor smoking of tobacco products to bar indoor use of those electronic gadgets.

Whether they actually have tobacco products in them was discussed at length during a County Legislature public hearing Tuesday.

The differences in view were stark, with Roswell Park Cancer Institute researchers warning e-cigs offer some of the same health risks as cigarettes.

"It's regulation and while conservative values oppose over-regulations of certain things, I think there are certain industries that do require regulation and whether this is one of them is still yet to be seen," said  Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo.

Many of the same arguments on tobacco products that were used years ago in the same room were used yesterday on e-cigarettes, including the argument people can make their own choices. A new argument is that regulating the e-cigs mean people who have kicked tobacco for "vaping" will be mixing with smokers outside and might go back to tobacco.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.